Too much trowel and error? These gardening shows could help.

Matt Dunham/AP/File
Monty Don, the lead presenter of British television show “Gardeners’ World,” waits to broadcast at the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 20, 2019.

As the weather warms up and the days stretch longer in the Northern Hemisphere, the call to being outside grows greater. Gardening is the perfect reason to stray away from your desk or procrastinate finishing those household chores. It doesn’t take much to call yourself a gardener – simply plant something in the earth or in a soil-filled pot, tend to it, and watch it grow. 

With a lot of time at home last year, many people either discovered the joys of plants for the first time or finally expanded their green thumb efforts. Maybe you have a new appreciation for growing your own food, or you enjoy planting native plants for pollinators, or maybe you have a few (or a few dozen) houseplants perched on a windowsill or lining your patio in containers. Now blooms a new season as those garden projects started in the quiet days of last year have taken root and grown.

When you finally come inside for the day, here are a few TV shows you can relax with and learn from as you dream up your next outdoor project. 

Of birdsongs and gardens

Monty Don is the perennial host of the BBC’s long-running “Gardeners’ World” (TV-G). Available on BritBox and Acorn, the show, spanning 53 seasons, is a respite with its birdsongs and gentle narrative of growing gardens. Don’s tips are interspersed with garden visits – including to a young man in Cumbria, England, with an affinity for tropical plants – and videos from viewers, including an Oregon gardener who started seedlings outdoors in winter using old milk jugs.

“Martha Knows Best”

Martha Stewart invites viewers to her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York, on “Martha Knows Best” (TV-G). There’s a lot happening besides gardening, but you’ll pick up new ideas in between the tree planting, dog washing, and Stewart’s video calls with friends like rapper Snoop Dogg. She also surprise-calls fans looking for gardening advice and doesn’t hesitate to give her opinion on their home and garden hacks. Catch the show on HGTV and streaming platforms.

Jason Ashur/Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve/AP/File
Colorful flowers bloom at Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine. Thuya’s collection includes plants from renowned landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, who created the nearby Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. Her work is also featured in “Beatrix Farrand’s American Landscapes” on Amazon Prime Video.

Watch the masters at work

If you’re attracted to gardens on a grand scale, check out two fairly recent documentaries about Beatrix Farrand and Frank Cabot available on Amazon Prime Video. “Beatrix Farrand’s American Landscapes” (unrated) centers on the first American female landscape architect and early proponent of public parks. “The Gardener” (unrated) explores Cabot’s Les Quatre Vents private garden in Quebec cultivated over four decades. These artists inspire with their vision of plants as living sculptures or a floral symphony played across the seasons. Farrand and Cabot had the advantage of privilege, but they were also visionary engineers whose legacies are worthy of admiration. 

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